Up On Two Wheels

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Finally the picture you have all been waiting for. Me on my new motorcycle. Thank you  Manish for taking the photo with your new digital camera. Many of you have heard me talking about getting a motorcycle for a while now and never thought I would. Perhaps that is because I drive a Volvo? Dave V. at work said that he did a search on Google and there are only 6 Volvo drivers in the world that also ride motorcycles. Clearly his comment was made in jest. But, if there was any doubt that there could be a man alive that can drive a safe conservative car like a Volvo and also ride a sport bike let me be the one to clear all doubt.

So, what exactly is that machine I'm sitting on?. It is a Kawasaki Ninja 500R. The 500 is for the engine size which is 500 cubic centimeters (cc). This is on the small end of the USA sport bike market. Since I'm a first time rider I didn't want to go crazy with a 1000+ cc monster bike. Everyone I talked to and everything I read pointed at this being the perfect bike for a first time rider. The Ninja 500R has a power to weight ratio that is 3 times larger than your basic Honda Accord. Add that to a much lower wind resistance and you can start to understand how a bike like this can really get up and go.

I bought this bike new from Cycle Barn. Kawasaki recommends that all their engines go though a break in period. So, for the first 500 miles you are supposed to keep the engine at or below 4,000 RPM. The redline for the engine is at 11,000 RPM. I did a good job of keeping the RPMs low for the first 500 miles which I burned though in a week. Now I'm in the second break in period where I need to keep the engine at or below 6,000 RPM. After I reach 1,000 miles on the bike the break in period is complete.

With 500 miles in one week, when I was working full time, you can tell that I'm enjoying my new toy. Almost half of the miles were on the second weekend I had the bike when I drove from my house to the North Cascades Highway. I took two lane highways all the way rather than get on the interstate. Now I'm looking for more long stretches of two lane roads to go enjoy the bike on. With the high price of gas these days it is nice to only have to spend $11 to fill up with premium gas. On my trip to the North Cascades I got over 60 mpg.

Do you part and keep those of us on two wheels safe on the road. That means motorcycles and bikes. Since our visible footprint is so much smaller than a lot of vehicles on the roads these days you have to pay attention. And, remember, we can stop a lot faster than you so don't follow too close.

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